An image is worth a thousand words.
It’s a cliche, but it’s also true. If you’re consistently using images in blog posts, it draws the eye in and keeps the visitor reading just a little bit longer…hopefully long enough to be drawn all the way into your content and find out how brilliant your words are.
Posts with a great relevant image also are more likely to be shared and viewed by others. While Twitter doesn’t care about images, Facebook does, and Pinterest definitely does. And random people will click on those images to find out the story behind them.
It’s my goal to include at least one image for every post I write whether here or on my author blog. But I’m very careful where I source my images, because, like words, they are copyrightable and you can’t legally just borrow someone else’s.
People have been sued for posting images they had no right to.
What are your options?
DO take your own photos whenever possible. Get in the habit of having a camera along. If you’ve got a newer smart phone, you’re in luck. Snap photos of random things that you might want later, even if you don’t have an immediate use for it. A photo of a leaf-strewn path, a one-way sign, interesting architecture.
DON’T take photos of random recognizable people without a signed release form. Think how you’d feel if you landed on blog post you saw on someone’s Facebook wall and discovered a photo of yourself there. Don’t do it to someone else, especially children.
DO ask friends and family members if you can use a photo of theirs that you believe suits an upcoming blog post. Again, if the photo includes recognizable people, make sure you have their specific, written permission.
DON’T search for images on Google and assume you can use them. However, you can go into Advanced Search using the settings icon on the right side of your screen. At the bottom of the options is “usage rights.” Select “free to use, share or modify, even commercially” as the safest option, then see what Google offers up. Still, double-check the rights on each image you’re considering using.
DO look for the term Creative Commons. This is a way people can determine the range of how they’ll allow their work to be shared. It’s like an open-source provision. Images found on Wikipedia are creative commons licensed. Click on any image on that site and read the attribution information.
DON’T assume you can use images from Flickr. Always look down the right side of a Flickr page under “Additional Info (show more)”. You’ll see what rights they release. If it says “some rights reserved” click to make sure your intended usage is covered. CompFight is an advanced Flickr search tool that you can set by availability for use. Choose your search term, then check the left sidebar under license. Choose “creative commons” and see what comes up.
DO use sites such as Free Digital Photos. Read the TOS (terms of service) to make sure that your intended use is covered and acceptable. On To Write a Story, nearly every image has been downloaded from FDP. You’ll notice the credit at the bottom of many blog posts. Other free sites include Stock.xchng, Public Domain Pictures, Morgue File, and Image Free.
- DOs and DON’Ts of using images in your blog posts click to tweet
- What are the rules about using images in your blog posts? click to tweet
DON’T confuse “free” and “royalty-free.” Free means you pay no money. Royalty-free means that you do not need to pay each time you use or print the image. Often you will need to pay for the right to use a royalty-free image in the first place. Always read the fine print/TOS.
DO purchase images from reputable sources as needed. Some of the best ones are iStockPhoto, ShutterStock, Big Stock Photo, and Getty Images. You may find stock photos are not as expensive as you thought.
ALWAYS attribute the photos you use according to the site’s TOS and your own good sense.
Leave no room for someone to come along and claim you’re displaying an image illegally.
Want a more indepth article? Check out this one.
Please note: I am not a lawyer nor do I play one on TV. The above is not legal advice. Please make sure you understand not only my article, but others I’ve linked to, as well as the TOS (Terms of Service) of any site you download images from. Images you use on your site(s) are your responsibility, not mine.
Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net